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T-Mobile To Use Google As Mobile Portal, Dumps 'Walled Garden'

New program in Europe will give data subscribers access to the entire Web, not just to pre-approved sites, the company has announced.
T-Mobile International said Wednesday that it will use Google as its point of entry for its European mobile Internet service instead taking the "walled garden" approach of directing users to only company-approved Web sites and content.

Specifically, the company said that mobile phones used for its European web 'n' walk service will be pre-set with Google as the device's home page. That, in turn, will enable users to access the entire Web instead of a "walled garden" of sites and content that has been pre-approved by the carrier, an approach taken by most carriers.

T-Mobile made the announcement as part of its roll-out of its web 'n' walk mobile Internet service, which is, initially, available in Germany and Austria with later service expected in the U.K. the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The service is available on devices, such as the Sidekick II and the Nokia 9300 and 9500 smartphones, that have screens large enough to display normal Web pages. Users of other devices with smaller screens will still have to access the Web through the company's t-zones program.

A spokesperson was quoted by Reuters as saying the company has not decided whether to take this approach in the U.S. T-Mobile said it thinks providing access to the entire Web will encourage use of the service.

"With the Google homepage we want tell our customers from the first moment that they are carrying with them the Internet they know from home," T-Mobile board member Ulli Gritzuhn was quoted by the Reuters news service as saying.

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